Mini-editorial, covering some points, one at a time. No episodic notes, but a bunch of editorial notes.
Full Title: The Weekly Strawmen Takedown and Thematic Dismantling of Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei
Or: Can’t the action come already?
Being Tatsuya is Suffering:
“My goal is energy generation, so I’m fine with being called out as inferior, which I am!” – Oh, what bullshit. No one in the world can handle all the processes for said energy generation on their own. Heck, at this point, as said in a prior episode, it’s one of the three great challenges – as such, it doesn’t matter how many processes he can or can’t invoke, it’s immaterial. It’d require a group effort. But, what can be done by one lone genius is a theoretical breakthrough – and we’re sure you’ll manage that, Tatsuya!
So yes, he has a lack of talent, but even if he was as talented as Miyuki who was the most talented in their grade (and thus gave the opening speech), he’d still be unable to do it himself.
Also, Mizuki, “Doesn’t it bother you being evaluated as if you have no talent?” – Those without talent at all aren’t at this school to begin with. Not all people with magic skill even make it in, and most people have zero skill. To the commoners, they’re all special.
Wait, am I accidentally watching some fanservice or hentai show? What is this? “You’re so amazing, I can’t believe it!” – I mean, this show is as far as it could be from a comedy, but it’s hilarious.
The grades don’t measure us properly? Well, screw grades! She seems to have taken the complete opposite message than what Tatsuya had been saying last episode, which is, “Get bad grades? Work harder!” Heh.
Tatsuya sure has it hard! He just says a small sentence, and someone is bound to take it as a life-changing revelation! And then everyone looks at him and adores him, what a pain! And then, of course, his magic, his power? It’s not a gift to him, but a burden. Don’t you all feel oh-so-sad for Tatsuya? ;-)
Honestly, it’s almost inconceivable that this isn’t parody. Well, it’s not. And yes, this all gets “explained” later on, but in the end it’s in-world excuse to out-of-world wish-fulfillment.
Being Mibu is Being Petty:
Last week, Tatsuya scolded Mibu for not thinking ahead, for spouting slogans and not actually thinking of what it is she wants. So she had time to think it through. So, what are the results of her ruminations on the topic? “I want to be treated equally!” So Tatsuya naturally goes, “Yes, what does that mean?” – “Same treatment!” – “Teachers?” – “Er, no.” – “You already get equal money and space for clubs,” – “Err, err, we want to be treated the same!”
In other words, Tatsuya is handed a strawman to dismantle. Mibu is treated as a puppet. She had time to think of her demands, but she can’t think of anything. She is treated equally, and anything she gets less, well, it can’t be helped!
It’s a bit poor, it’s painting those who want equality as misguided fools who can do nothing but spout slogans, with no real depth to their arguments. That’s going to be a bit problematic once later this episode we see Mayumi championing more equality as well, eh?
“I am disgruntled, but I can’t come to anyone with complaints. I will make the best of this situation, and get what I want out of it.” – An admirable message, where everyone should do everything on their own, and systematic discrimination is treated as immaterial. If only the world had been this simple.
Also, this is something that continues throughout the series, “I will not blame the school for the childishness of my fellow students.” Well, I agree with him. My point here is just to point out how Tatsuya is a “lone and self-sufficient entity”, who treats everyone else as insects, to be ignored or crushed, should they oppose him. He’s that much more powerful than they are.
Tatsuya is a Rules-Lawyer:
Last episode I said the following:
Tatsuya, ever the one to be precise in every deed, word, or thought. Only Kirihara used magic, because Tatsuya stopped his allies from being able to cast any. Mari did not ask if others had tried to cast magic, after all. He’s a dirty rules-lawyer, he’s more like a GM. And we all know the GM (Game Master, tabletop RPG term) is God.
And now we see the rules-laywer Tatsuya again. While others are free with their words, he is ever so precise. He is like an automaton, no feelings, but precision is paramount. He said he’ll assure Mibu’s safety, and that they will be negotiated with. No one said they’ll be free when negotiations occur, or that anyone but Mibu will do the negotiations. So much for conversational implicatures…
And here we see it as again, Tatsuya is an adult, while Mibu and her comrades are but whiny brats – “You double-crossed us!” – “We will talk with you, but that does not mean your measures are something we can overlook.” – And then Mibu just surrenders to Juumonji’s words. They act, without thinking, and the barest moment to reconsider would show them the folly of their ways, but they are too foolish to do even that, blinded by the most insidious of curses, ideology.
“We want change! But we want you to figure out what and how to do it!” – Yeah, the “coalition” truly is depicted as a bunch of children crying and wanting to be given everything, without having to work for it. This is exactly what proper meritocracy opposes, where what you obtain should be commensurate with your effort, but this sort of argument is also the one levied by those who espouse “Fake meritocracy” (where their starting positions are much better): “You don’t really want to work! You just want to be handed social security payment, which I worked for!”
Systematic Logic, Accepted Discrimination, “Believe in Yourself!”:
“I’m afraid of a mental impression turning into an emotional debate.” – “Meaning you’d never lose a logical debate?” – “Indeed.”
“Our” side is the logical one, the mature one. “Their” side is the one that can only win by appealing to emotions, to demagoguery. Strawmen aplenty.
Shocked Tatsuya! Shocked Miyuki! The president is willing to accept the fact the school may not run perfectly, and there might be changes they could make to accommodate others, which means even thinking of others as worthy of your time and ear :o
“Yes, not only the strong call the weak, weak, but there are also those amongst the weak who had given up, and call themselves by these very same names.” – Mayumi is another believer in “Never give up, believe in yourself, keep working hard, and you too could get to the top!” – But this school system may be unintentionally too close to reality. There are 100 Blooms, anyone beyond that is a Weed.
No matter how hard they work, many will be forced to remain Weeds. There’s only room for so many in first-class, and everyone else is second-rate citizen. “Everyone work hard and you’ll get to the top!” is a lie. The system will not permit it.
Heh. Do you know what the Weeds’ representatives looked so distraught here? It’s because Mayumi had persuaded everyone. They didn’t really want to end discrimination, as much as they wanted to incite unhappiness. Mayumiwon, and thus peace will be maintained. Thus the “terrorists” are unhappy.
Also, earlier Mayumi said she’ll win using logic and is afraid of an emotional debate, but didn’t she end up appealing to the students’ emotions? “These three years matter to us all!” and “Believe in yourselves, don’t give in to this mental barrier!”
So, being children, what do those who had been defeated both in logic and emotions, and who never truly sought peace do? They flip over the table! They resort to violence! They are children, but as adults, they’re terrorists.
Well, some action should be had next episode. I hope they’ll conclude it with one episode and not two. We need to get to the second arc, already.
It actually wasn’t a bad episode. For a shounen action show, there sure is a lot of talk and very little physical action, eh? We’ve had verbal sparring, but the opponents are such flimsy strawmen it’s hard to take seriously, and HanaKana’s “Soft voice” isn’t the best to have made the speech feel as anything more than another time-passer.
Well, next episode should give us action, and the next arc a lot more besides.
This episode wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t very exciting, and very little new was actually covered. You’ve got all these actors, but the characters’ personalities can’t truly support them. Mibu Sayaka is very well-acted, but her character is such that crumples and goes quiet at every turn, because her role is to be weak and easily deflated, for now.